Forget Regret?

Watch 1994 Madison Scouts in Music  |  View More Free Videos Online at

That right there? That video was the first exposure I ever had to Drum Corps. Some Friday night in October '95 I was sitting in the high school band room. (Go Ben Davis Marching Giants! Animals Forever!) Anyway, twas the night before State Finals and the drumline was busy changing out drum heads, wrapping sticks with tape, tuning the drums, making them sparkle and shine for the big show the following night. Someone put on a video of Drum Corps International finals from the previous year and that served as background noise to our regular chatter and the thumping/hacking of high school drummers.

I didn't notice anything on the tv until ^THAT^ appeared on screen. If you watch the above video, you might understand why at 3:20 the entire room back in '95 stopped what it was doing and stared. It's been a long time since that night. I've seen and done a lot of things in the last 18 years (dear gods, 18 years?!), but I remember the electric awe of that moment. Cymbals, snares and holy god! My jaw was on the floor, and it certainly wasn't the only one. We begged our band directors, our percussion instructor... we hounded them. Please can we do that? Teach us. Can we do it? Please!! 

I said to my percussion instructor, "I want to do that!" "You and everyone else," he slurred. "No, not just the stunts, but THAT. What is that?" "Drum Corps. That's the Madison Scouts." "I want to do that. I want to be in that group." "You can't," he said. "You're a girl. They don't let girls into the Scouts. Men only." "Are there Drums Corps that let girls in?" I asked. "I want to do it!"

He never responded.

I never did Drum Corps.

You know how people always say, "If I knew then what I know now?" or they talk about the one that got away? Drum Corps is my white whale. For years I thought it was something I couldn't have. A teacher told me I couldn't. By the time I realized he was wrong--that I was wrong--and learned how to audition, and had the confidence to do it... I was too old. There's an age limit and I'd exceeded it. I'd waited too long to even try.

I learned from that mistake. This might be why I look fear square in the yellow eyes and say, "Fuck off, I'm doing this!" I don't want to run out of time waiting to be better, stronger, the stars to align or other such rot. I take the shots I'm given even if it's foolish to do so.

If I knew then, though... I totally would've done it. I would've auditioned for every corps I could find.

But I didn't.

I can't tell you how many speed limits I broke listening to that show (particularly with the soul-piercing trumpet at 10:53. Gah! Love it!!) I know that it's been a long time and people have improved upon drill and stunts and all sorts of other things that make this video chump change to some people. But for me, when I see it or hear it, I'm still 15 and wrapping my bass drum mallets with jaw on the floor.

Damn I love that show.

Pimp It!

Today I'm doing a post solely for the pimpage of others. I encourage you to get in on the act. Leave comments to hawk for writers/bands/people/whatever that you like. (No Porn, dude, this is a family show.) If you want to pimp yourself, go for it. Just be hospitable, k?In no particular order...

1) The Scientific Mom: My friend Amy has started a blog to keep track of the many things she's been doing with her daughter over the past few years. Seriously, I'm jealous of the mom Amy is. She makes me feel lazy. Anyway. Amy has been homeschooling her daughter for...well, ever...and the results have been amazing. For a long time she just posted about her adventures on Facebook, but recently she decided to share her magic with the rest of the world. Amy is a terrific friend, a spectacular mother and one hell of a teacher. 2) Absence of Time: My friend Chris started a garage project of making jewelry. Because of this, we all win. His steampunk-inspired jewelry is not just fashion, it's art. I love his work and wish I had oodles more money to throw at him. He does original work as well as commissions. Earlier this year, mutual friends got married and the bride had the spectacular idea of commissioning jewelry for her bridesmaids. I got this stunning hair clip to add to my collection of AoT bee jewelry.

Good Night Gracie  Fort Wayne, Indiana. I used to march drumline with this guy named Dan McCoy. Fun, tattooed, terrific player. Turns out that when he isn't being a dad, starting a curling league or growing out an epic beard, he drums for Good Night Gracie. Rocktastic band, tons of fun. GNG throws a great party and pleases the crowd. They do a lot of covers and you can listen to them on their site. Go. Like now.

3) Friends' Bands: 

  • Collectible Boys Iowa City, Iowa. Again, I used to drum with their drummer, Chris Wood. He's got a few other projects, but this one stands out as particularly stellar. The vocalist for Collectible Boys, Renee Zukin is nothing short of amazing. Their debut album Sense of Redemption drops this week. Indie band with a lot of talent behind it. Check out the teaser tracks on the link above and buy the album!
  • The New Guilt Indianapolis, Indiana. Fairly new band still growing a following. They're a bunch of talented guys who found one another and are building a foundation for boss work. My friend Brian "Shadows" Burke (formerly of Valhalla) takes lead guitar on this one. Check 'em out. Friend them on Facebook and go see them if you are in the area.
  • Clay Colton Band  San Diego, California. Again, I used to drum with the drummer, B.J. Morgan. Like Dan of Good Night Gracie, B.J. helped me refine my set technique and pushed me to be a better player. Check out their summer tour dates and see when you can experience them for yourself.

Book Country - Writer's community initiated by Penguin Publishing. You'll find a lot of talent here and great feedback for your work. Fantastic place to connect with other writers. Go. Friend me so I can read your stuff. :)

4) Guise Knights: So yeah, I'm involved with this one personally, but hey, it's a group thing. Guise Knights is a Phoenix, AZ based gaming organization. What started off as a group of friends getting together weekly to shoot the shit and kill things with dice has turned into a larger group of people scattered about the state (with a few friends in other states that we bring in for events because they rock). We go around to conventions and make the gaming awesome. Our members run and teach several kinds of games, from Dungeons & Dragons, to big box games like Doom and starter games like Dixit. GK also provides game reviews. So yeah, if you need a gaming fix...Guise Knights can help you with that. 5) Artists/Writers/Writerly Things: Okay, so I can't narrow this down, so here's a list of people I think are phenomenal. If you don't see your name here it's probably because I'm just forgetful this morning.

  • Gail Carriger - Writes the Parasol Protectorate series (Orbit). Fun steampunk with vamps and weres. I recommend them.
  • Candace Ganger - Strong woman whose blog is a delight to read.
  • Julie Summerell - I heart her Twitter. She makes me laugh a lot and also makes me hungry when she talks about her cooking.
  • Michelle M Welch - Podcast "Theme and Variations", has a trilogy of books out that starts with The Confidence Game. Great wit. And today's her birthday! (Going to her party later. Go show her love.)
  • DeAnnaKnippling - Writer of "Choose Your Doom: Zombie Apocalypse". She writes about zombies and it's really fun. Plus, she's starting her own epublishing gig. Her tweets brighten my day.
  • Johanna Harness - Writer, blogger, inspiration. Johanna started the Twitter hashtag #amwriting and maintains for all of us word hounds. She has a lot of good things to say on craft and navigating the industry. She genuinely wants to see people succeed at their goals.
  • Zach Reddy - I love his work. Have some on my wall. And he's my husband's brother. I'm particularly fond of his ideas for the 13th doctor. Was very happy to see him in his booth at Phoenix Comic Con this year. He shared that booth with...
  • Emma Lysyk  - Comics and jewelry with quirk and style. A ton of fun.
  • Britney Lee - Found her work on a whim and fell in love. She has this series of prints of Hawaiian deities and I LOVE it. Wish I had more money to throw at her, too. PLUS! She's living the dream and working as an animator for Disney. She also does paper art now which is stunning. Go look for yourself.
  • Bald Pirate Photography - My friend Eric Fiallos started doing photography a couple of years ago and he's really flourished. Of course, I am slightly biased, he did my wedding photos. Eric also does more intimate work. He has a talent for making everyone look sensuous and natural.
  • Captured By Sable - My stepsister has started working on photography as well and her work just gets better and better. Her concepts of composition are unique and delightful to look at.
  • Monique Reddy - My sister-in-law, married to Zach Reddy. Her photography is, in a word, stunning. She has a terrific sense of the moment and a gift for finding light and color to make a shot go from a digital picture to a work of art.
Alright, so that's my list. For the moment. Add to it. Leave comments pimping out friends, family, co-workers, yourself... whatever. Go thou and explore!